Psorothamnus spinosus (A. Gray) Barneby
Smoketree, Smokethorn, Smoke Tree, Indigobush, Smokethorn Dalea, Corona De Cristo
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Synonym(s): Dalea spinosa
USDA Symbol: pssp3
Smokethorn or smoke tree is a spiny, intricately branched, nearly leafless shrub or small tree with an overall gray appearance except when covered with a profusion of violet or indigo-blue flower spikes. The leaves of this 10-20 ft. plant fall early in the season. Spiny, much-branched shrub or small tree with short, crooked trunk, compact or irregular crown of smoky-gray branches, and small leaves; leafless most of the year.
The common names describe the hazy appearance of the leafless plants when seen from a distance. The smoky-gray twigs produce most of the food, by photosynthesis, since the plants have leaves for only a few weeks each year. Showy when covered with flowers, Smoke Tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental in frost-free regions.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , NV
Native Distribution: AZ & s. CA, s. to adjacent Mex.
Native Habitat: Desert washes below 1500 ft.
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationSeed Collection: Collect the pods when they are beginning to dry. Separate seeds from pods before sowing or storage. Fumigate seeds before storage.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no pretreatment for germination, but scarification may be helpful.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Psorothamnus spinosus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Psorothamnus spinosus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Psorothamnus spinosus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff